Retailers who sell a pack of smokes to a youngish-looking person may wish to double check that ID.
A county ordinance passed Tuesday will have enforcement teeth with tough penalties for those who illegally sell tobacco products in unincorporated Monterey County to those under 18. The law will provide for enforcement that state law lacks, proponents said.
"I'm thrilled," said Dale Hillard, chairman of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Monterey County, after the board of supervisors unanimously passed the ordinance. "I have been working on this for 12 years. ... Now I have got to get the cities to work on it," said the retired family life teacher.
State laws on retail tobacco sales, which allow for local control, are "totally unenforceable," said Hillard. The illegal tobacco sales rate for Monterey County for 2010 was 48 percent, according to county information.
With the county law now on the books, some supervisors said they hoped that area cities including Salinas would also get in synch.
"This is a good place to start," supervisor Dave Potter said. Municipal government leaders in the county have referred to pressure from tobacco retailers over enforcement issues, he said. "That seems to me to be extremely selfish."